Finally...a nice flat crit! Only issues were the strong wind and the millions of Botts Dots (pictured).
These little suckers lined this course and when you and your lightweight rig hit them on a curve or a turn it can hop your bike and scare the crap out of you. Sometimes your line would hold you right over a line of them with riders next to you on both sides, the only thing to do is hang on, bounce down the road and pray till you can move just a bit left or right. Good times...
Race went well...I was back in my element (crit racing!), plus my recent boost in training efforts allowed me to be competitive throughout about 58 minutes of the 60 minute race. Yeah, I was toasted on the final lap and couldn't give the sprint finish what I wanted to give it.
There were MANY unsuccessful break attempts. Likely due to the wind. I went with several of these, but every one came back. The most promising of them was with 6 laps to go...we had 14 guys off the front and only about 3-4 of us working to stay away...organization sucked...the group would take the right lane of a left hand curve (i.e. the long way!)...it was messy and therefore, we got caught with about 3 to go. I tried to recover and on the final lap Jan came by and wanted me to hop on his wheel for a leadout. I just didn't have the juice at that point. I think I finished somewhere around 30th...Jan and Aaron just ahead of me somewhere around 20-25th?
I feel like I've made some large gains in my riding lately just by figuring out my Powertap and the numbers associated. Figuring out my power threshold has given me much more confidence and a smarter way to ride.
I used to hit the hills with my teammates and suffer with them for a bit and then just completely fall off the pace, get into my easiest gear and they would wait for me at the top of the climb. I'm still not a 'super-powerjunkie-know-it-all'...yet, but I now know that I can push it harder and survive. So this means that before, when I would use my 25 to go up, I should have been in a slightly smaller cog so that I push a wattage at or slightly above my threshold. I'm not sure if that would get me up to the top with some of our climbers, but it will definitely help keep me closer.
I did a great ride yesterday with a few of my teammates (Jan, Geoff and Dan). We met down at Dan's house in Mountain View and headed out to do some climbing. I forget the names of everything we did...Highway 9, Skyline, West Old La Honda... I felt great and was able to hold my wattage up the climbs, which probably made me look 200% better than I looked climbing a week ago! We set out to climb, but ended up with a pretty sweet mix of climbing, rollers and, except for the cars that slowed us down, some sick descents!
I bought a Powertap SL 2.4 last fall in hopes of training smarter. Yes, I got a great deal on it via the Interbike attendee discount, but it was still a big chunk of dough. I don't regret buying it, but I do wish I would have bought the Carbone version instead of the Open Pro, but whatever...it's still an awesome tool (so I've heard and am learning now)...
So here's the deal. I bought it and I use it on almost 100% of my training rides (outdoor and indoor), but I don't really pay attention to the wattage while I ride. I just download it and view it post ride. Therefore, instead of using it as a powerful training tool, I've been using it as an expensive toy/novelty item.
I'm also struggling a bit with my upgrade to Category 2 racing...I'm fine and competitive in a flat/flatish criterium, but when the road points upward you can count me out with a DNF.
I recently did an indoor training session at Endurance PTC. They do eCycling classes...to paint a picture, imagine a spin class based on power resistance...everyone uses their own bike on a computrainer and the leader of the class tells you what power zone you should be in for each section/interval throughout the class. Since I don't really know my power zones (goes back to using my meter as a toy) Endurance PTC printed out what we figured would be similar to my zones and we went from there. The 90-minute class really wiped me out. The final two sets of intervals were nearly impossible for me to complete. It was an awesome eye-opener (along with my recent DNF's) - I NEED TO TRAIN BETTER AND INCORPORATE HARD POWER INTERVALS.
So, I've reassessed and refocused my training. I finally did the 20 minute threshold test you typically do when you first get your power meter and now I have my zones...which seem low to me, but I'll retest in a few weeks and see. I'm finally reading the book I bought when I purchased the Powertap ("Training and Racing with a Power Meter" by Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan).
I'm also working on my coaching skills and certifications, so that I can start coaching some lower category riders, as well as improve my own training.
Pretty exciting times for me right now...the way I see it, I can only improve!
"Anything Outdoor" - Cyclist (climber, then sprinter...learning to climb again!...UPDATE: gave up on climbing.) I work for Ritchey Design in San Carlos and blog more on the company blog than this one anymore. This one's an occasional hobby these days.